After somebody is arrested on a criminal offense case, they usually are brought before a magistrate. A magistrate is a minor judge who sets bail. Bail is basically an obligation of the defendant that he or she will appear in court at the time designated. Often people receive what are called surety bonds. These are insurance policies guaranteed by bail bondsmen that indicate you will show up in court. If you don’t show up in court, the bail, the amount of money set by the court, will be forfeited to the county.
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